Repost: How to find the time...

Aug 08 2009 Published by under Cycling

PalMD's recent posts about starting a caloric reduction plus exercise regime and Isis' chime in, combined with a recent burst of exercise I've been having, reminded me of the eternal problem. How do busy adults find the time? How do YOU find the time to exercise? Anyway, this post originally appeared on Aug 26, 2007.



BikeMonkey Re-Post
In a comment to Dr. Shellie on going running for "Balance", Lab Lemming sez:

I used to do this, but it is harder now that I'm a parent...

A comment from Kevin Z on a post over at Cognitive Daily center punches a related issue:

I've been running every other day for the last 3.5 months. Its been great, I feel my energy level increased, my body getting into shape and my productivity increase as well. I will continue as much as I can. In the winter I cross-country ski every chance I can get.
Running is hard my knees and I know I probably don't do it. I played soccer growing up and did short-distance (i.e. dashes & sprints) running, but I got sidetracked for oh, about 10 years and put on some weight. But I'm off the ciggies, off the junk food (though not entirely...), eating less more often and regularly running. Motivation mostly stems from wanting to be healthy to have fun with kids, and be around in good health for them as long as possible.

Who in this house holla back, aight? RealLife gets in the way of fitness and next thing you know it is TimeToMakeAChange.


Look not all of us can be professional (P.A.H.S. Bobcat harriers ruled Bishop Brady, yo!) runners like KemiboSabe who crazytalks:

I've run over 5,200 miles in a single calendar year and have raced about a dozen marathons. All I can say is that although I don't think and better thanks to all this flailing around, I do think more. I'm often more focused, but with running, I can foster awful ideas with even greater clarity.

So we mortals need some strategies...
Commute: Totally efficient if your cage-commute is like mine. I can easily beat traffic on the way home which is conveniently a net downhill off the TP mesa. And hey, if you have enough, er, southern european male postdoc types around nobody will notice even if you can't find the showers. Although come on, all science buildings have a shower somewhere. no excuse.
Lights: Gotta have decent ones, gotta do the night riding thing. Late at night or early in the morning. Look having infants and toddlers already screwed up your sleeping habits. You wake up at weird hours or take that 4pm coffee and forget to say "decaf". Whatever. Don't fire up the computer and work or read blogs, go for a ride! Okay, I got T-boned by one of PB's traditional UnbelievablyDrunkChicks a couple of nights ago on the Sail Bay boardwalk but how often can that happen?
Multiple Bikes: Ok, we all know this is hard to get past the spouse unless yours happens to ride as much as you do. But you gotta. Bike geeks love to tinker around with the gear, fixing tires, cleaning, adjusting etc. This is OVER. Bike maintenance is now your hated enemy because you don't get the extra 30 min prep time anymore to fix something you notice right at ride time. So you need as many options as possible, hopefully one of 'em is running! Me, I have a lot of stored investment in equipment not to mention the hardware from more recent prior attempts to get back to riding. But you may have to break out the cost of a heart attack or chronic blood thinner meds to get the spouse on board with that $5K rig you want... hey, all's fair.
Motivation: This can take multiple posts but suffice it to say this is the biggie. Whatever it takes and I mean whatever. Are you a log junkie who wants to see that nice even graph of hours? Track your cumulative miles? Sign up for some crazy endurance race (like the bro just did). Tell yourself you are going to start racing again and re-license? Whatever, just do it. Whatever gets you out for a ride as often as possible.

10 responses so far

  • PalMD says:

    When I live in SF, I had lights, paniers, etc.
    Most days, i'd ride from presidio heights down to SFSU, then up to the VA, then home. A great commute, through the park in the morning, and along the ocean on the way up to the VA. I never made it up the last hill on my bike---ever. I did blow out spokes trying though.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    In the words of the sage: "Do not say 'I will exercise when I have time,' for you will never have time."
    The difference in sleep quality and energy level easily justifies at least 30 minutes per day for anyone. So quit making excuses and hop on the stationary, stair machine, whatever. Just physioprofing do it!
    In my own (falsely) humble (but obviously correct) opinion, first thing in the morning is best because there are fewer excuses. Especially for those of us who have someone in the same bed who can use an elbow to good purpose when the alarm goes off -- if only to save said individual from repeat alarm events.

  • Sara says:

    D.C. Sessions (and anyone else who wants to chime in): I've thought a lot about the time of day issue. I've heard that first thing in the morning is best because nothing else can interfere with it, and I'm even a morning person, but I don't exercise as well first thing in the morning. And more importantly, my brain doesn't function as well after I exercise. (Note: biking to work for 30 min doesn't cause dummy-brain, but biking for a few hours, running any distance, or lifting weights does cause dummy-brain.) Is there a trick to being mentally alert after exercise? I end up running or weightlifting in the evening because if I don't sleep after I exercise then I'm mentally a zombie until I do sleep.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    Is there a trick to being mentally alert after exercise?

    I suspect that this is a case of "YMMV."
    Also, my experience isn't your experience thanks to some other factors. As in: I don't do impact. A 100 meter run would cripple me for good; the tendon repair would rupture if nothing else gave out. That kind of limits the intensity of the workouts I do, and that has its own consequences.
    Note that PalMD has similar limitations, if for other reasons.
    Again: YMMV.

  • hibob says:

    For those at risk, like bikemonkey, of getting t-boned in Pacific Beach: Switch to the Pacific Ocean. I gave up commuting by bike from Mission Hills up to Torrey Pines; between the disappearing bike lanes, bike lanes full of construction equipment and pot holes, a sobering conversation with a trauma doc, and yes, the drivers around P.B., I decided I was a lot healthier without the bike ride.
    When I learned to surf I was going out for dawn patrol and didn't have a wetsuit yet. Which was just fine in September, but the water in San Diego really started to cool off in October that year, and homeostasis started to burn a lot of calories. I lost almost 15 lbs in three weeks before giving in and getting a wetsuit. Bonus: Unbelievablydrunkchicks don't surf much at 6 in the morning.

  • Your risk of severe injury or death surfing or swimming in the Pacific Ocean is substantially greater than your risk of severe injury or death bicycling on the streets of San Diego.

  • Commuting by bike rules! 11 years now and counting. When I have to take the bus I arrive at work all pissed off and distracted, but when I cycle, I get out of the shower alert, awake, and ready to start on the project I was thinking about on my way in. When snow or ice forces me off my bike for more than a couple of days in a row, I definitely start to feel less productive.

  • I wish I could commute by bike but alas I have a 40 mile commute (but I carpool) to work. Luckily we have lots of trails and a small gym in here to sneak in a work out but I also set aside an hour and a half a week for basketball with the other grad students, postdocs, tech's, and even a PI!

  • ScienceWoman says:

    Commuting by bicycle would be great - but what about those of us who have to drop off and pick up small children from daycare every day? It's one thing to risk my own life on crazy Mystery City streets, but there's no way I'm doing it with a bike trailer and my precious child being towed behind me.

  • The risk of death or severe injury while cycling on the street is roughly similar to the risk of death or severe injury in a motor vehicle (other than a motorcycle, which is much higher).

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